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Bacon Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

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There are people who don’t like pumpkin. And then there are people who love pumpkin, but who would never think to add bacon to their beloved pumpkin dishes. I’m here to tell you: Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Bacon and pumpkin are a delicious flavor duo.

These Bacon Pumpkin Bars are perfect for Fall baking. The spices, the bacon and the pumpkin will fill your abode with scrumptious, autumnal smells. The crispy bacon adds a nice contrast in texture to the moist, fluffy bars and the creaminess of the frosting. So trust me when I say that bacon makes everything better! Even pumpkin. Especially pumpkin!

Note: You can add bacon as a topping, to the batter, or both. If doing both, cook 2 lbs. of bacon. If doing one or the other, cook 1 lb. of bacon. Also, this recipe makes a lot of frosting, so if you want a thin layer of frosting, you can halve the frosting recipe.

Ingredients:

1-2 pounds of thick-cut bacon
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
15 oz. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
8 ounce pack cream cheese
2 – 2.5 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
½ cup softened unsalted butter (1 stick)

Directions:

1. Cook the bacon. Lay strips of bacon on several rimmed baking sheets or casserole dishes. Place in a cold oven, then set temp to 400 F. Bake until desired doneness, about 15-20 minutes. Place cooked strips on paper towels and allow to cool. Reduce oven temp to 350 F.

2. Mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, pumpkin and eggs together until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger until combined. Mix wet and dry ingredients until combined, then add bacon (adding bacon to batter is optional). Pour batter into a greased 9” x 13” pan. Bake for 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.

3. Mix softened butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add maple syrup and mix. Add powdered sugar in ½ – 1 cup increments and mix until you reach your desired level of sweetness.

4. Spread frosting thickly over cooled pumpkin bars. Sprinkle with bacon bits. Serve and enjoy!\

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